Television

BBC to air Fifa World Cup matches on broadband in the UK

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MUMBAI: UK pubcaster the BBC has signed a deal with Infront Sports & Media, the company responsible for the worldwide marketing and sales of the broadcast rights to the 2006 World Cup.

This will allow internet users in the UK to watch all the games online.

All of the BBC's TV games will be live and free-to-air with online viewers able to access the games at bbc.co.uk/worldcup and bbc.co.uk/sport - viewing of these matches will be restricted to those that live in the UK.

All of the BBC's group games as well as all the subsequent games that the BBC has in the knockout stages will be available on these sites.

The BBC will also have the exclusive rights to England's second round and quarter-final games should they reach that stage.

Furthermore, the BBC has non-exclusive rights to short highlights from every 2006 World Cup game. There will be four-minute clips from all of the 64 matches available on-demand whenever users want to view them.

For the BBC's matches, viewers will be able to stream the same coverage and commentary as on TV as will appear on terrestrial television.

Also, in addition to watching the games, online users will be able to hear and read about the latest action – BBC Radio Five Live will have an audio stream from 2006 World Cup game and there will also be live minute-by-minute reports on every match written by BBC journalists.

BBC director of sport Roger Mosey said, "Our audiences now expect to get BBC Sport on television, on radio and online – and the World Cup on broadband is our biggest commitment yet to bringing people major events where and when they want them.

"You can watch the World Cup from the BBC at home on TV – or listen in the car on your radio – and now also see full live coverage on your PC. We know that a lot of online viewing is done in the office, so we suspect this will allow people both to do their job and to keep up with the very latest action from Germany."

BBC director of sports rights Dominic Coles says, "The BBC has great traditions in sport but we also want to be the most modern provider of content, and our move into broadband reflects this."

The BBC has successfully broadcast football over the internet before, but this is by far its biggest-ever single commitment.

In 2005 the BBC showed the final of the Fifa Club World Championship Toyota Cup Japan between Liverpool and Sao Paulo online to UK internet users.

Similarly the BBC also broadcast online all the interactive streams from Athens 2004 Olympics.

This latest deal follows this week's announcement that the BBC will provide UK broadband users with access to five courts of live tennis action during the 2006 Wimbledon Championships.

The service will replicate coverage from the BBC's live terrestrial coverage plus the remaining digital interactive feeds. The BBC already has the broadband rights to the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.

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